(photo retrieved from LZ Area Chamber of Commerce)
I would like to say that I am an innovative educator, but I think that’s mainly because so much of what I do is “out of the norm” already as a special education teacher. I work hard to find different and more meaningful ways to assist my students in their classes, especially using technology, but that’s not all that innovation is. The post ”Are you an Innovative Educator? Here’s How to Find Out” states “interesting and relevant just brings us part way there. Innovative and real leads to meaningful learning.” So, no, I guess I am not an innovative educator yet. I agree with so many educators who express how state testing limits what we are able to incorporate into our classrooms. So much of the focus is to deliver all of the necessary content in order for students to perform well on the assessments, rather than allowing educators to incorporate more meaningful, authentic experiences.
With that said, I believe that my current ePortfolio plan will help to create the environment where my students can see the authenticity in their work and be given the opportunities to share their knowledge across whatever platform they choose. Currently, I am constantly begging my students to see the meaningfulness in completing the assignments I give them – which are often times based on self-reflection – and to put in just the slightest bit of effort. But they are ok with just completing the bare minimum. It’s frustrating, but at the same time I get it. High school is hard and the pressure that is constantly put on students to earn high grades in their classes makes a “self-reflection assignment” from their learning support teacher easier to push to the side. However, being a bit more communicative of my expectations and a bit more innovative in my approach will hopefully help my students to see and feel the benefits of their work. I have high hopes for these ePortfolios that we’ll be implementing in my classes!